|| The California Gold Rush in 1849 prompted the U.S. government to appoint army captains to escort prospective gold seekers to California. Captain Randolph B. Marcy was one of these captains appointed by the Secretary of War to escort and protect the “Forty-Niners” on their journey as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico. Captain Marcy brought with him the famed Delaware Scout Black Beaver and topographical engineer Lieutenant James H. Simpson to map a wagon road from Ft. Smith to Santa Fe. This route was mapped for future gold seekers and other emigrants moving west. Captain Marcy and his detachment left Ft. Smith in 1849. Their expedition opened the Fort Smith-Santa Fe road which ran across the Texas panhandle, through north central New Mexico and ended in Santa fee.
Once successfully reaching Santa Fe with the party of “Forty-Niners,” Captain Marcy decided to escort a wagon train traveling to El Paso. He escorted the wagon train to Dona Ana, sixty miles north of El Paso. His detachment then turned east with intent to survey and construct a route back to Ft. Smith from west Texas. Marcy employed Manuel, a famed Comanche guide. This new route linked El Paso with a wagon road via the Toyah Basin, the Trans-Pecos Region and the southern Llano Estacado. Manuel guided the party southward toward the Pecos River to what became known as emigrant crossing, about 20 miles below present day Pecos. After crossing the Pecos Captain Marcy’s party spent four days crossing the “sandy hills of the Monahan’s” and followed an old Comanche trail between Goldsmith and Odessa in Ector County, continuing northeast to Ft. Smith. The Marcy expedition forged a shorter, southern route from Ft. Smith to Dona Ana.